The following is a sample of the typical modules that we offer as at the date of publication but is not intended to be construed and/or relied upon as a definitive list of the modules that will be available in any given year. Due to the passage of time between commencement of the course and subsequent years of the course, modules may change due to developments in the curriculum and the module information in this prospectus is provided for indicative purposes only.
Genes, Molecules and Cells
This module combines lectures and laboratory classes and introduces you to the structure and function of significant molecules in cells, and the important metabolic processes which occur inside them. You will study, amongst other topics, protein and enzyme structure and function, the biosynthesis of cell components, and the role of cell membranes in barrier and transport processes. You'll examine how information in DNA is used to determine the structure of gene products. Topics include DNA structure, transcription and translation and mutation and recombinant DNA technology.
Core Skills in Tropical Biology
This module focuses on developing the core skills needed by tropical scientists in scientific writing, data handling and analysis, experimental design and scientific presentations. Alongside lectures and workshops, small-group tutorials are an important component of this module. In these tutorials, you get to know the member of staff who will be your tutor for the duration of your studies, discuss scientific topics relevant to your degree, and practice key skills such as essay-writing and data-handling.
Life on Earth
Life on Earth provides an introduction to the fundamental characteristics and properties of the myriad of organisms which inhabit our planet, from viruses, bacteria and Archaea, to plants and animals. In weekly lectures, and regular laboratory practical classes, you will consider how living organisms are classified, how they are related genetically and phylogenetically, and basic aspects of their structure and function.
Evolution, Ecology and Behaviour
Starting with Darwin’s theory of evolution, you will learn how natural selection and other evolutionary forces have shaped the ways in which organisms interact with each other and their environment. In addition to lectures, practical classes will give you hands-on experience with a range of ecological and behavioural concepts in the laboratory and the field.
You also choose one optional module from the School of Life Sciences or from other schools in the University. Options from within the School of Life Sciences are as follows:
In this module, you will be introduced to the physiology of the major systems eg cardiovascular, nervous, and musculoskeletal, mostly in man, including some aspects of drug action. This module will allow you to understand your biochemical and genetics knowledge in the context of the intact organism. This module includes lectures and laboratory classes.
Fundamentals of Neuroscience
This module will give you a good grounding in the basic principles of the nervous system of humans and other animals. Topics will include neuroanatomy, cellular neuroscience, neuropharmacology, sensory systems, neuroendocrinology, memory, behavioural neuroscience and diseases of the nervous system. These will be delivered through weekly lectures and practical classes.
Research and Professional Skills for Environmental Scientists
This module includes research seminars involving all environmental science lecturing staff and visiting collaborators. The sessions will focus on discussion of staff members’ recent research and associated papers and research methods. Classes will include discussions of research papers and some demonstrations of methods.
Professional Skills for Bioscientists
Professional Skills is centred on delivery of some key core professional skills through timetabled lectures, group activities and self-directed learning.
A residential field course in the Malaysian rain forest, this module focuses on understanding ecological community structure and function. Students will work in small groups for one week on research projects and set activities designed to give them experience of appropriate sampling techniques, and an appreciation of the ecological factors which are unique to the tropical rainforest environment.
Tropical Environmental Science Field Course
This one-week residential field course is based on Tioman Island, off the coast of peninsular Malaysia. The course is designed to introduce students to the enormous diversity of life found in tropical environments, from coral reefs to rainforests. Students will work on a series of exercises in different environments, sampling and identifying animals and plants, and looking at the relationship between diversity and the physical environment, especially in the context of recent anthropogenic change (eg climate change and ocean acidification).
Global Environmental Processes
The unifying theme of this module is biogeochemical cycling - the production, distribution and cycling of materials on the Earth and their availability to, and use by, biological organisms. The module starts by covering the history of the universe, from the big bang to the evolution of the Earth's surface environment. Then you will explore the major global systems and their circulations as they are today - solids, liquids and gases. In the final section you will examine the major materials - including carbon, nitrogen, sulphur, oxygen and metals - and their budgets and cycles; and the interactions between biological and physical/chemical processes on a global scale. You will have a two-hour lecture once a week for this module.
This module provides a general introduction to the subject of earth observation. This involves analysing remotely sensed images, typically acquired from instruments on board satellites or aircraft, to investigate spatial phenomena on the Earth's surface. In theoretical lectures you will cover the concepts underpinning remote sensing, including the physical principles determining image creation, fundamental image characteristics, methods of image analysis and uses or applications of earth observation. There is also a strong practical component to the module, with regular practical exercises on various forms of digital image analysis. Each week you will have a one-hour lecture and a one-hour practical for this module.
Patterns of Life
The module focuses on patterns in the distribution of organisms in space and time, and the theories proposed to explain these patterns. Themes you will explore include biodiversity patterns; island biogeography and nature conservation theory; ecological succession; biological invasions; extinction and mass extinctions plus more.
- Soil Science
- Introduction to Geographic Information Systems
- Site Investigation
- Tourism and the Environment
- Environmental Modelling
- Wildlife Behaviour
- Environmental Policy and Economics
- Principles and Analysis of Gene Function
- Proteins: Structure and Function
- Physiology and Pharmacology
Typical year three modules
The project is a year-long level three module. You will undertake detailed research on a chosen topic after discussion with a supervisor. Each project will involve collection of data by means such as experiment, questionnaire or observation, as well as the analysis and interpretation of the data in the context of previous work.
Science and Society
This module will explore the interactions between science and society through a series of lectures, discussion groups and workshops. Topics that will be explored include the ethical parameters that govern how scientific work is constrained, ways in which scientific discoveries can/should be disseminated to the wider community, the wider responsibilities that follow the acquisition of new knowledge and the concept of ‘citizen science’, where science takes place outside the traditional academic centres of work. This mode consists of a three-hour lecture incorporating discussion groups once per week.
Considers immunological interactions between parasites and their hosts. Initially the mechanisms involved and the consequences of host responses/resistance to infection are reviewed across diverse taxa of parasitic organisms. You will discuss the strategies evolved by parasites to enable survival in the face of host immunity in some depth. You will spend around three-hours per week in lectures studying this module.
Biological Photography and Imaging I
Through practical sessions, you will learn the techniques of biological image production and manipulation, including the ability to generate biological images of the highest technical quality and scientific value. You will build an understanding of the principles behind photography and how to get the most out of state of the art photographic and imaging equipment.
This module gives a detailed understanding of the genetics and biochemistry behind the properties of parasites and microorganisms that cause major human diseases in the present day. You will have a three-hour lecture once per week for this module.
Considers the genetic effects of reduced population size, especially relating to the conservation of endangered species. You will study topics including genetic drift and inbreeding in depth, from theoretical and practical standpoints. You will spend around one and a half hours per week in lectures studying this module, plus a two and a half hour computer practical.
You will consider the history and practice of population genetics research, with a focus on a quantitative approach to the subject, with training in problem-solving skills. You will spend around two hours within lectures per week studying this module, plus a two-hour computer practical.
Molecular and Cellular Neuroscience
Considers ion channels at the molecular level, with topics including the structure and function of different ion channel groups and their modulation by drugs, pesticides and natural toxins. You will also consider the synthesis and transport of neurotransmitters and the formation and release of synaptic vesicles. This module involves one three hour session per week incorporating eight lectures and two practical sessions.
Evolution and Behaviour
A series of student-driven assignments, discussion groups and problem-solving workshops on evolutionary biology, with an emphasis on behaviour. You will consider topics such as adaptation, sex and evolution, kinship theory, communication, and human behavioural ecology. There are four hours of lectures and workshops each week in this module.
Considers current knowledge of, and research into, the ecological causes and evolutionary processes that govern natural selection, adaptation and microevolution in natural populations. You will examine three approaches to the study of evolutionary ecology: theoretical and optimality models; the comparative method; and direct measurement of natural selection in the wild. You will have two-to three hours of lectures each week in this module.
Considers a range of approaches to conservation biology, such as the measurement and monitoring of biodiversity, and the legal frameworks and management strategies that exist to protect it. You will discuss particular threats to biodiversity, such as habitat loss and invasive species. You will spend around four hours per week in lectures and have four three-hour practicals to study for this module.
Aquatic Biology in a Changing Environment
The module will consider current knowledge of, and research into, organismal structure and function in aquatic environments, and the attributes of aquatic ecosystems, in the context of global environmental change. Three types of aquatic systems will be covered by the module: marine, estuarine and freshwater systems. The focus will be on physiological adaptations to the aquatic environment, and ecological structure of aquatic communities, as well as the impacts of anthropogenic disturbances and climate impacts. The module is delivered by a three-hour lecture once a week.